Study shows brain at exact moment of cardiac arrest

Brain

Image: Jesse Orrico/Unsplash/Reproduction

People who have had near-death experiences report seeing life flash before their eyes. Descriptions, of course, are subjective and intrigue scientists. After all, when we die, what happens in our brain?

An international team of researchers has just clarified this question. For the first time, neuroscientists have been able to record brain activity at the exact moment a person went into cardiac arrest and died.

The volunteer was an 87-year-old man with epilepsy. He had recently developed the problem and was undergoing constant electroencephalograms to detect seizures and treat the problem. However, he ended up dying during one of the exams.

This allowed the scientists to measure 15 minutes of brain activity at the time of death, focusing on the 30 seconds before and after the heart stopped. The full study was published in the scientific journal Frontiers of the neurosciences of aging.

During this period, an increase in so-called gamma oscillations has been identified. These, in turn, are involved in cognitive functions, such as dreaming, meditating, retrieving memories and processing information. Changes were also observed in delta, theta, alpha and beta oscillations.

Previously, such observations had been made only on laboratory rats. In testing, the animals’ gamma oscillations were also affected, suggesting a similar brain biological response between the different species.

The study has certain limitations. For obvious reasons, only one patient was included in the analysis. In addition, the brain had suffered seizures and showed lesions and swelling. In any case, the research brings a glimmer of hope.

“While our loved ones have their eyes closed and ready to let us rest, their brains can relive some of the best times they’ve had in their lives,” said Ajmal Zemmar, a neurosurgeon at the University of Louisville (States -United). and head of the study. , in communicated.

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